Tuesday, June 6th. A major pop culture phenomenon, lasting several decades, began on this date in 1933. With the automobile increasingly reshaping Americans’ habits, Richard Hollingshead opened the nation’s first drive-in movie theater in Camden, New Jersey. Soon, drive-in movies became a fixture across the country and a popular place for teenage dating and family outings.
Drive-ins reached their peak in the 1950s. There were some 20,000 movie theaters then, and almost 5,000 of them were drive-ins. Now, there are some 4,450 enclosed movie theaters around the country — many, if not most of them with multiple screens — while there are only about 325 drive-ins remaining in operation.
- First drive-in/accessed 3/30/2017: http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa980121.htm
- Movie theaters in the 50’s: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, p. 855/
- Popularity/accessed 3/30/2017: www.driveintheater.com/history/1950.htm
- Movie theaters/County Business Patterns/NAICS 512131: https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/BP/2014/00A1//naics~512131
- Drive-ins/accessed 3/30/2017: www.uditoa.org/media.html